Thursday Jul 18

MarkDeFoe Mark DeFoe is Professor Emeritus of English at West Virginia Wesleyan College, where he still teaches literature and writing part-time. He has work recently published or coming out soon in Smartish Pace, Red Rock Review, The Sow's Ear, The MacGuffin, Chautauqua Literary Review, Evening Street Review, Salamander, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Santa Fe Review and others. His poems were nominated for Pushcart Prizes in 2008 and 2009. His ninth chapbook, Ten Scenes with Mocking Bird, won the 2009 Tennessee Chapbook Award sponsored by Poems and Plays.

Grand Entrance

The door is ajar—who is that singing?
The door is inviting—a party rocks on.
The door gapes—who crouches?

Through the door you can see a crumb trail,
a flash of black negligee.
You can hear animal teeth crushing bone.

Through the door comes a muted metallic click,
like someone flicking off a safety,
like someone chambering a round.

Beyond the door lies the white map marked
"Terror Incognita" and "Here be monsters."
Beyond the door your name flashes in neon.

Shuffle forward, Weak Heart. Touch the knob, Fool.
Cross that threshold, Big Boy. Take a seat, Toots.

But consider, beyond this door,
beyond this door,
beyond this door.

Behind you, a deadbolt slips home
with an oiled snap.

To Kneel

This posture of servitude. To drop down,
To lower yourself. To give obeisance.
To circle the mountain three times on bloody knees.
To humble yourself and then stand, transformed.

To await the bullet, the blade.
To stare down at the scuffed patch of dirt,
And see there in the dust that holy face.

To curse them, to laugh one last time.
To feel the hand of blessing on your head.
To deliver yourself up. To soar,
with your hands knotted behind you in prayer.